For our second Friday Focus feature of the day, we look at the UDP. Last weekend, UDP Group 9 and their mentors, Andy Mair and Karen Evans, travelled to Belgium for an exchange weekend.
Friday night saw the group get together for dinner, giving them time to catch up. UDP Lead Eric Denis, Pierre-Philippe Van Besien and UDP Graduate Laurine Delforge joined the group for dinner. Laurine shared with the group her excitement for her appointment to the Rio Olympic Games this summer, and detailed some of her preparation.
Early Saturday the group got straight to work. Mentor Karen Evans talked through a mental analysis questionnaire which the umpires were requested to complete after each of their games over the weekend. This is to help Karen create a profile for each umpire to determine which areas can be improved by each umpire.
Nathan Stenier and Gavin Cruickshanks travelled to Braxgata to umpire at the HC Dragons U19 League match; 3rd vs 4th in the league and a hotly contested game with Dragons coming out on top 2-0. Paul van den Assum and Robert Papalecca travelled to Royal Oree for the 1st v 2nd match in the U19 league. Again an exciting match to umpire with lots of situations which required strong management skills from the umpires. Rachel Williams had the pleasure of umpiring with Anne Van den Bosch from U4E on Saturday for a ladies league game at Pingouin Club. All umpires were impressed with the level of play during matches.
On Sunday, Sebastien Michielsen, the only member of the group not to umpire on Saturday, was in action with Paul once agian on Sunday for a game at Herakles HC in the men’s league. Nathan was paired with Robert at Lara club and Rachel was with Alexandra Mahieu (UDP group 10) for a ladies’ league match. Gavin was paired with Geo Van Elegem to umpire Royal Orée vs Leopold in a clash at the men’s division 2.
Sunday’s matches were more challenging, and proved to be a real learning experience. The umpires had to make sure they were working well with each other on the pitch. Overall, all the umpires and mentors were happy with the experience, as they continue to learn and improve performance.
The European Hockey Federation would like to thank Belgian Hockey for their hospitality and cooperation.
Source: EHF/Gavin Cruickshanks
Photographs: Andy Mair